Located in India’s Bay of Bengal The Andaman Islands are an archipelago which consists of about 300 islands. These islands are well-known for their palm-lined white-sand beaches, mangroves and rain forests. These islands are surrounded by coral reefs that support marine life among them sharks and rays. Visitors can enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling as well as water hiking, windsurfing and fishing. Some of these islands offer ocean side camping and hiking. Both the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a union territory of the Republic of India.
Bharatpur Beach can be found at the jetty near the Neil Islands. It is famous for its coral reefs and white sandy shores. The best time to visit here is during the mornings and evenings. Neil Islands have often been termed as the coral capital of Andaman. If you’re not too much into snorkeling you can bring along a hammock and a good book to read. You can stroll the beach and relax on some of the benches along the way. There are vendors who sell coconut water.
Popular among visitors is the cellular jail also known as Kaala Paani or black waters. It remains one of the most infamous remnants of India’s struggle for independence. The jail is located at Port Blair and favored by visitors. The prison was begun in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The bricks used in the construction were imported from Burma. The building has seven wings designed in a criss-cross pattern. A tower rises up in the center and was used by prison guards. The prison was mainly used as solitary confinement of the prisoners. The wings were built so that the front of each cell only saw the back of the cell opposite it. Today this cellular prison has been turned into a hospital with 500 beds and 40 doctors, serving the local population.
Baratang Island has fascinating limestone caves that should not be missed. The caves are an impressive natural wonder and you get to take an exciting speed boat journey to see them. The boat ride is covered with a canopy of the forest which is home to the indigenous “Jarwa” tribe. It is not advisable to go into the water since it is home to sea crocodiles. Inside the caves you can see amazing stalacites and stalagmites and erosion has created unusual shapes inside the caves. You can explore in the company of an experienced guide who’ll be able to tell you some interesting facts about the local tribes and the history of these caves.
Marina Park also known as Samudrika Marine Museum is located at Port Blair. It is managed by the Indian Navy. This establishment was built to create awareness about the conservation of aquatic life and resources in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Here you can also discover all there is to know about these group of islands and the social and tribal life of the people that live there. The park consists of five sections and you can see miniature models of the islands displayed along with large tanks that contain natural coral reefs and different kinds of aqua flora and fauna that is unique to these islands.
The Havelock Islands are located on the western coast where you’ll find one of the most popular beaches in India Radhanagar Beach. The waters are calm and crystal clear. You can participate in such activities as scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, boating and so much more. For some added excitement you can take elephant rides. The loveliest time here is at sunset.
Viper Island is an island that is home to snakes. The island is famous for the ruins of a jail that precedes the cellular jail. The jail was used to incarcerate political prisoners and visitors can still see the ruins of the gallows. This is a most picturesque location and one of the most important tourist destinations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Great Nicobar Island is the largest of the Nicobar Islands in India. The island is sparsely populated. Even though it was severely affected by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean it has made a recovery. This island is known for its rainforest that is home to a diverse wildlife and is part of the World biosphere reserve. The unusual location of the island has made it home to several unique species of fauna and aqua fauna. The island is also home to the indigenous tribe called Shompen, which is one of the oldest tribes in the world.
Take a look at Campbell Bay where you can see crab-eating macaques, giant robber crabs, megapode and Nicobar pigeons.
A twenty minute boat ride will take you from Port Blair to Ross Island. Here you can see impressive Victorian English ruins since this was once the former administrative headquarters for the British in the Andamans. At one time this island was referred to as the “Paris of the East”. Today you can still see the old English architecture and you can walk through landscaped paths and many of the buildings are labeled. At a small museum you can see historical displays and resident spotted deer. Ferries to the island depart hourly from Aberdeen Jetty located behind the aquarium in Port Blair.
If you head on up north you’ll discover a giant outdoor adventure playground made just for nature lovers. This is home to a world-famous turtle nesting site, Andaman’s highest peak – Saddle Peak and a network of caves to explore. There are white-sand beaches and some of the best snorkeling. In Diglipur which is the second largest town in the Andamans you can get Internet access. It’s famous for its oranges, rice and marine life. You can relax and visit the tranquil coastal village of Kalipur.